Asian pear trees provide a less grainy fruit than the Kieffer or Bartlett varieties of pears commonly found in American orchards. Because some Asian pears look like and have the same smooth texture as apples they are often called apple-pears. Asian pears are separated into the Japanese varieties that are round and the Chinese varieties that are shaped more like a standard pear. Asian pears are susceptible to fire blight and must be grafted onto a fire-blight-resistant rootstock such as Pyrus calleryana in the southern U.S. and Pyrus communis in the north.
Choose an Asian pear tree that is 2 years old or about 1 inch in diameter 6 inches from the base. If possible, purchase trees that are container grown. Although Asian pear trees are partially self-fertile, choose at least two trees for good cross-pollination. Plant Asian pear trees in fall or early spring as soon as soil can be worked.
Space trees 15 to 20 feet apart and plant in well-drained preferably sandy soil in a location where the trees will receive full sun. Dig a hole with the shovel wide enough to comfortably accommodate the root base and deep enough so each tree is planted at the same level as it was in the nursery pot. Do not cover the swollen area at the base of the tree where it was grafted to the rootstock. This will cause the root graft to sprout and kill the top of the plant that produces fruit. Spread out any roots that are girdling or encircling the root base before planting. Refill the planting hole with native soil. Don't add amendments such as compost or potting soil to the planting hole that will hold water and prevent drainage. Add water while refilling planting hole with native soil to prevent any air pockets from forming around the roots.
Add a 2-inch layer of mulch over the root base but leave a 1-inch gap between the trunk of the tree and the mulch so mildew from the rotting mulch cannot infect the new tree.
Prune new trees 30 inches above the ground leaving a bare trunk, or whip, and stick to a pruning program as the tree matures over the next five years. Most Asian pears do well pruned into a vase shape, however some are pruned to have a central leader (or trunk).
Fertilize with a fertilizer labeled for fruit trees after the first year. A fruit tree fertilizer will supply the nitrogen needed for growth in the spring. Adding too much fertilizer causes excess fresh growth that is vulnerable to diseases such as fire-blight and insect damage. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer container label for continued applications.